Interpretation of Feline Blood Smears

Often in emergency room settings, the staff and clinicians must evaluate blood smears on site as part of a complete blood cell count in order to have timely results. The goal of this study was to compare results by emergency room personnel (ERP) with those received from trained clinical pathologists and automated assessment equipment. Results of 155 blood smears collected at an emergency clinic from 2008-2009 were compared. Platelet counts had moderate agreement, but white blood cell counts had poor agreement. Changes in cellular morphology, such as toxic changes, blood parasites, and blood progenitor cells were not predictably recognized by ERP. The investigators concluded that interpretation of blood smears at emergency clinics can supplement, but should not replace, evaluation at a diagnostic laboratory. [MK]

Related articles:
Becker M, Moritz A, Giger U: Comparative clinical study of canine and feline total blood cell count results with seven in-clinic and two commercial laboratory hematology analyzers, Vet Clin Pathol 37:373, 2008.